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Family favorites

By Angie Sutton


This week I put the members of my household in charge of the menu. They selected three of our favorite and easy- to- prepare recipes.

I often double the recipe so we have leftovers for lunch the next day or to have available on the weekend for a quick-to-prepare dish for the grazers.

The 7-Layer Magic recipe has been a huge hit on the mothersapronstrings.com website. The recipe, shared by Diane Meisenger, is one that my kids always ask for seconds on. I like to make a second pan to cut into single-servings and freeze in resealable bags. I pull these out when I need a quick solution for a hungry tummy!

Hearty Potato Soup

The bacon in this soup makes it a stand out!


5 lbs. baking potatoes
7 to 15 bacon slices
4 1/2 c. diced yellow onion
1 tsp. salt
1 or 2 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
7 1/2 c. milk
3/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3 c. chicken broth
1/3 c. chopped fresh parsley
1 1/4 c. chopped green onions
1 1/4 c. finely shredded cheddar cheese


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash and rub olive oil lightly on potatoes. Pierce potatoes with a fork and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour, or until tender. Cool slightly. Partially mash potatoes (including skins) and set aside.

2. Cook bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer bacon to a paper towel-lined plate and crumble.

3. Add onion to bacon drippings and saute 5 minutes. Add salt, garlic and bay leaf; saute 2 minutes.

4. In a large saucepan add potatoes, milk, pepper, broth and contents of skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in parsley, if desired.

5. Top individual servings with bacon, green onions and cheese.

Apron Strings Tips:

I bake extra potatoes, cool, cut and freeze them for the next batch. My kids do not like the green onions so I usually skip those to save money. We personally like one clove of garlic. If I have half-and-half, I will substitute some of that for the milk. We really like bacon, so I start with 1/2 lb. and put half of that in the soup at the same time as the potatoes.

Ranch Pork Chops in the Slow Cooker


4-5 pork chops (bone-in or boneless)
1 pkg. ranch dressing mix (the packet of dry mix)
1 can cream of chicken
1 can of water

1. In a medium-sized bowl, mix the seasoning packet, cream of chicken and can of water together.

2. Put a little of the liquid in the bottom of the crock and then add the pork chops.

3. Pour the remaining liquid on top. Cook on low for 4 to 6 hours, depending on the size of the chops.

Apron Strings Tips:

I have two smaller slow cookers, and we often do a second one with a spicy ranch dressing mix. If we have them, I toss in a few prepared sliced jalapeno peppers. Shorten the cooking time by selecting the thinner cut pork chops. If you double the recipe, be sure to use two slow cookers so the chops have ample room to cook.

Website Top Recipe

7-Layer Magic

This recipe has been the most visited on the mothersapronstrings.com website. In fact, it has received more than 1,000 visits! The recipe was shared with me by Diane Meisenger and is one we keep in the rotation at Sutton Central due to its ease of preparation and popularity with the kids.

Source: Diane Meisenger

4 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced
1/2 carrot, finely sliced
1/4 c. yellow onion, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 can sweet peas, drained
1 lb. ground beef, browned
1 can mushroom soup (thinned with a little milk)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Layer in a 9-by-13-inch glass pan: potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, peas, ground beef and mushroom soup.

2. Cover with foil and bake for 70 to 80 minutes.

3. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer.

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